“Should we move or should we soundproof?”
Does this sound familiar?
Paul and Carol had been looking to move house for a long time. They loved their semi detached house and the area, but the noise from their neighbours was forcing them to pack up and move.
Noise from next door would invade their space at all times of day, and music from the neighbours was heard in every room of their house. This was causing them stress and making them feel so uncomfortable, they were considering selling the house and moving away just to escape.
They looked around for a new house for a few years but just couldn’t find one they could call home. Many properties just didn’t have the large rooms they were used to in their 1930s semi detached, and lacked the practical layout of their current home. It really was just the noise they were escaping from.If you can relate to this story, let me shed some light on what might be happening in this situation …
Paul and Carol decided to invest the money it would have cost to move to a new house into soundproofing their semi detached house instead, to make their house a perfect home. A place they could entertain, and have people round without feeling embarrassed about the noise – a house designed exactly how they always wanted it.
Soundproofing a chimney stack
For example, Paul and Carol didn’t use the chimney stack in their back room of the semi detached house. It was something that took up valuable space in the back dining room and back bedroom above. They realised removing the chimney stack could be done in a couple of days and would mean that a stronger, more powerful soundproofed wall could be installed, giving a better noise reduction.
They decided to remove the whole chimney stack before the soundproofing installation. This is a great decision as it freed up more room in the dining room, and really opened everything up. For the bedroom above, it allowed more options for the bed location and completely transformed the back bedroom.
Ask yourself the question: Do you use your chimney stack? Is it a novelty you only use twice a year?
Removing the chimney stack makes step 2 of the 4-step method the best it can be, because it’s easier to soundproof the entire direct noise path rather than using non-combusting materials around the fire backs and chimney stack.
One of the main reasons Paul and Carol and many other homeowners choose Quietco for their soundproofing renovation, is because we manage the whole project for you, keeping you updated throughout the day, for the duration of the project.
Quietco take care of the electrical sockets that will need extending for the soundproof wall. We take care of the plastering with our own plastering team who are dedicated to plastering alone, ensuring you get a high quality trade finish.
Quietco install all the fixtures and fittings such are skirtings, architraves, picture rails, window sills, TV brackets, shelving, doors, floors, heavy ornaments or any fixture and fitting that will need refitting or replacing as part of any soundproofing investment. All of this is completed by highly experienced, qualified carpenters that care about you and your home.
Many homeowners do not realise that their radiator pipes may need extending before a wall can be sound deadened as part of the soundproofing solution. That radiator then needs to be re-fitted after the decorating, which we can do for you too.
You might know a local plumber you have used before or one that already takes care of your central heating system – that’s perfectly fine and in fact we prefer it, and can speak with them ahead of any installation. We like to ensure everyone knows what needs to be done and when. We work with plenty of different plumbers across the UK every week.
On Paul and Carol’s installation a unique situation came about as we began soundproofing the back lounge dining room. Bricking up the holes in the structure where I could get my arm through to next door beneath the floor boards (see Quietco Videos) we disconnected the floor joists, reducing impact noise transmitting into the structure.
We managed to install sound insulation to the direct noise path and some of the indirect noise paths in the back dining room before the country went into lockdown for the 2020 pandemic. Paul and Carol had only step 1, step 2 and part of step 3 done of the 4-step method before lockdown. It then became obvious to them that the noise was worse in the new extension, which was an indirect noise path as this room was perpendicular to the main house.
It was great hearing from them over the lockdown period, as they had a chance to really test the soundproofing that was ready for plastering. They could not hear the music directly through the direct noise path (separating party wall) despite putting their ear on the wall. They expressed enormous satisfaction at the reduction in impact noise from the floor joist disconnection. However, it was quite distressing for them to hear and feel the bass of the neighbours’ music in their new extension seating area.
With a fairly new lean to extension, they did not realise until the direct noise path of the party wall was soundproofed, that actually the noise from the neighbours was coming from the new extension… even though it was not even attached!
We returned to Paul and Carol’s house as soon as it was safe to do so and began work on the new extension. We uncovered all three main materials that make noise worse in homes. We found dot and dab plasterboard on all the walls in the new extension, and aerated blocks. The walls were also constructed using 3.5N ultra-light aerated blocks, and aluminium foiled rigid insulation was used in the sloping roof.
We removed the plasterboard, sound deadened the lightweight aerated blocks using our trademark TPS65W 50mm wall system, and removed the rigid insulation that was backed with aluminium foil positioned around the Velux windows in the extension ceiling. Despite the longest soundproofing project ever because of the lockdown, Paul and Carol were delighted with the result. So delighted that they offered to do a video testimonial for us.
Soundproofing a semi detached house: advice
Disconnecting the floor joists from the separating party wall massively reduces the structural borne noise from the floor.
When noise reaches a certain volume (measured in decibels) that noise enters the structure of the house. The house structure includes the floor joists, ceiling joists, exterior window walls, chimney stacks, and any wall, ceiling or floor perpendicular to the separating party wall.
If your house is made from poor quality lightweight materials, then the noise from next door will travel more easily through the structure. With this knowledge, why treat only the separating party wall directly? You will not get a significant reduction in noise by only treating the direct noise path of the party wall in every room of your house. This is why some people can hear their neighbour’s music in every room of their house.
If you are going to treat only the separating party wall then you can only expect to reduce low volume noise from your neighbours, such as general conversation, TV and Radio noise – and this is only if you manage to find and address the main cause of the problem before installing any soundproofing.
There is a solution to your noise problem, and we can help you. The next step is to fill out the form with your post code and book a free noise diagnosis. We’re always happy to have a friendly chat about your noise problem.
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